A place in the last 16 of the Brazil World Cup failed to console the Nigeria manager, Stephen Keshi, who was visibly distraught on hearing the news of the latest attack to rock his country.
“What are they doing these guys? They did it the first game, and now they did it again. It is sad!” remarked Keshi after his team went through to the next round, despite losing 3-2 to Argentina.
Before the game, an explosion in a shopping centre in Abuya, the capital of Nigeria, left at least 21 dead. It is not clear whether the attack was directly related to the World Cup.
Last week, just hours before Nigeria’s opening game against Iran, a suicide attack in Damaturi killed 14 people who had gathered to watch the game between Brazil and Mexico.
Although no-one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Boko Haram terrorist group is the prime suspect. It rejects all forms of western life and deems football to be “non-Islamic.”
Around a thousand Nigeria fans turned out to support their team during the third and final group stage game against Argentina in Porto Alegre on Wednesday. Some of them were wearing shirts with the legend “Football against Boko Haram.”